NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Stream Canadiens vs. Lightning Game 5 live tonight

If they win, the Lightning will become the NHL Champions for a second straight year. The game streams on NBC and Peacock, no cable required.

Brett Kulak and the Montreal Canadiens (right) hope to hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 tonight.

Read more: NBA Finals 2021: How to watch, stream Bucks vs. Suns without cable

The Lightning has the home-ice advantage by virtue of finishing the regular season with a better record than the Canadiens. The series opened in Tampa Bay for the first two games, Games 3 and 4 took place in Montreal and afterward home ice alternates every game. Here’s the full remaining schedule:

*If necessary.

You don’t need cable or satellite TV to watch the action on the ice. The most affordable streaming option is NBC’s Peacock service, which will carry the entire series live. Peacock’s basic tier is free, but to watch the Stanley Cup Finals you’ll need to subscribe to the Premium version starting at $5 per month.

The remainder of the series will also be carried on NBC, which is available on most major live TV streaming services. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries NBC in your area.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch the games on NBC for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. You need one of the Premium plans to watch the Stanley Cup Finals games live and full-game replays, though highlights are available on the free tier. Read our Peacock review.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue package includes NBC, but NBC is available in only a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes NBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Watch Steph Curry break the NBA 3-point record — and see the crowd go wild

Ray Allen’s 10-year-old NBA record was no match for Curry.

“The way he changed the game, it’s almost like how Babe Ruth changed baseball with the long ball,” said TNT announcer and former player Reggie Miller, who is now third on the three-pointer list behind Curry and Allen. “He has changed the game with the three-point ball. How all 30 teams approach the game is because of Number 30.”

Reaction? Oh, there was a little bit.

“Just landed in Dallas to see Stephen Curry broke the record and to make it even doper he did it in the GARDEN!!” tweeted NBA legend LeBron James, who was born in the same Akron, Ohio, hospital as Curry, though four years apart. “WOW CONGRATS BROTHER!! INCREDIBLE.”

NBA star Kevin Durant is already looking to Curry’s future, tweeting, “2974…more on the way. Congrats to the God Stephen Curry.”

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson joined in too, writing, “Congrats legend!”

On Wednesday, Curry himself thanked his fans. “Dream come true,” he said in a tweet. “In the Garden too. Thank you everybody for reaching out and showing love. This means so much to me and my family.”

AEW Full Gear 2021: Results, new AEW Champion, full recap and analysis

Hangman Adam Page won the AEW Championship to finish an excellent pay-per-view.

All Elite Wrestling has a new top man. “Hangman” Adam Page pinned Kenny Omega in the middle of the ring to win the AEW Championship in the main event of Full Gear 2021. It was the culmination of AEW’s longest-running storyline, and the end to one of AEW’s best pay-per-view events.

While the main event produced a new champion, perhaps the best match of the night was that between CM Punk and Eddie Kingston. They had a gruff fight that stood out from the rest of the card, and it’s arguably what the crowd was most into on the show. Other highlights include the opening bout between MJF and Darby Allin, Bryan Danielson defeating Miro to become the number one contender for Page’s AEW Championship and the AEW Tag Team Championship bout between The Lucha Brothers and FTR.

Scroll below for a full recap and match analysis for Full Gear 2021.

The fourth ever AEW Champion has been crowned. Hangman Adam Page pinned Kenny Omega in the main event of Full Gear to win the AEW Championship.

The crowd was alive as the bell rang, moreso than anything else on the show with the exception of Punk versus Kingston. Omega got the advantage with the help of Don Callis, who tripped Page and later attacked multiple times when the ref’s back was turned.

There were many big spots, including a sick springboard Liger Bomb that Omega planted Page with when Page was perched on the top rope. Mostly, though, this was a back-and-forth action match with little in the way of psychology until the final minutes.

We got a ref bump about 16 minutes into the match, with Page attempting a Buckshot Lariat but Omega pulling the referee into the clash instead. Callis tried to smash Page with the AEW Championship belt, but Hangman knocked him out. Omega then took a swing with the belt, but Hangman countered and hit his Deadeye signature move. A new referee slid in and we got our first great nearfall of the match.

After another exchange between Page and Omega, which saw Omega land many V-Triggers and Page counter with a huge clothesline, The Young Bucks limped to the ring.

Page attempted a Buckshot Lariat but Omega countered with a huge V-Trigger. Omega attempted a One Winged Angel but Page reversed it into a One Winged Angel of his own for a two count. Page then barraged Omega with two Buckshot Lariats — one from behind and a second from the front — to win the match. The Bucks didn’t interfere, but rather nodded in approvement as Page struck his winning blow.

After the match, The Dark Order came to the ring to celebrate with the new champ.

Rating: 4 stars. A good main event with a great final few minutes.

Before the main event, we got news that former Ring of Honor champion has joined All Elite Wrestling. He issued a challenge to Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship, which Guevara accepted.

The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz) were victorious in their Minneapolis Street Fight against Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page) and American Top Team (Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski and Dan Lambert).

The culmination of the match was Jericho landing a Frog Splash on Dan Lambert, in a tribute to Eddie Guerrero, who died on Nov. 13 in 2005,  to win the match for his team.

It’s hard to fairly appraise this Street Fight. If you watch it in isolation, it would be a bunch of fun. The problem is that it was another car-crash match, similar in spirit to the Young Bucks falls count anywhere bout earlier in the night. That problem recurred with the ending. Jericho and Guerrero were great friends, but we saw Guerrero tribute spots in multiple matches tonight, so Jericho’s Frog Splash felt less special than it should have.

Still, there were many crazy spots to keep you entertained — the craziest of which was Guevara chanelling Jeff Hardy with a Swanton off the top of a huge ladder.

Rating: 3 stars.

This. Was. Awesome.

Eddie Kingston and CM Punk beat the hell out of each other. This felt completely different from anything else on the show. At 11 minutes, it was shorter than the other marquee matches. There wasn’t any flips or acrobatics. It was gritty, and it felt like a fight.

The crowd was split, and mega, mega into this. It began with Eddie Kingston surprising Punk with a spinning backfist before the match started. The crowd popped huge, cheering for Eddie, but as Punks stirred we got defeaning duelling chants. Throughout the bout the crowd was 65-35 in Eddie’s favor, which was surprising.

Kingston threw Eddie into the turnbuckle on the outside early, which cut Punk open — he bled profusely. The dynamic of the match was that Punk was the big star, and Kingston was the scrappy underdog. In essence, a reversal of Punk’s famous match against John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011. That was best exemplified when Punk did Cena’s shoulder blocks and teased doing a “You can’t see me” taunt, which got heat from the crowd.

At the end of the match, Kingston taunted Punk with the “Go to sleep” sign Punk does. Punk surprised Kingston with a GTS, but Punk was too beaten down to capitalize. Both men got back to their feet, Kingston attempted a wild spinning backfist but Punk ducked and hit a second GTS for the win.

Rating: 4.5 stars. Best thing on the show.

Britt Baker.

Britt Baker defeated Tai Conti with a cradle pin to retain her AEW Women’s Championship.

These women were put in a tough spot. They were on late in the show, and the audience has seen several amazing matches. Further, Britt Baker is a heel, but she’s one of the most popular stars on the roster. That puts Tai Conti in a hard spot — she’s meant to be the hero, but she’s going up against a bigger and more popular performer.

With that said, this ended up above average. The crowd was largely not interested until about 8 or 9 minutes in, when Britt Baker landed an Air Raid Crash to Conti on the apron. After Conti kicked out, she managed to turn the tide by planting Baker with a Gotch Piledriver. That caused the hitherto apathetic crowd to get into a duelling chant, one side for Baker and one side for Conti.

Jaimie Hayter and Rebel ran interference for Baker, but Conti took them out with a huge moonsault. Back in the ring, Conti hit a DDTay for a two count. She attempted another, but Baker countered into a Lockjaw attempted. Conti turned that into a cradle, but Baker reversed that into a cradle of her own for the win.

Rating: 3.25 stars.

Cody Rhodes and Pac managed to team together and not implode for long enough to defeat Malakai Black and Andrade El Idolo. The victory came when Pac landed a Black Arrow on Andrade.

It was a bit of a sloppy match, with some noticeable awkwardness, but these four are so talented that even on their worst day they’d put on a solid performance. The story going into it was that Cody and Pac distrusted each other, which shone through when Pac would repeatedly tag himself in, to Cody’s frustration.

Early into the bout, on one such occassion, Cody was distracted by Pac’s tag for long enough for Malakai Black to surprise Cody with a Black Mass kick. That put Cody out, and allowed Black and Andrade to work over Pac. Eventually he was able to tag Cody back in. Cody ran wild, which annoyed the notably anti-Cody crowd, and eventually Pac and Andrade were the legal men.

Black and Cody brawled to the outside, with Black kicking Cody over the barricades, which left Andrade and Pac to decide the match. Pac hit his Black Arrow for the win.

Rating: 3 stars. It was good, but was disadvantaged by following the car-crash match that came before. It also had essentially no stakes, which is an issue at this stage of the show.

This was just bananas. It reminded me in a lot of ways of the TLC matches that made Christian Cage — alongside Edge, The Hardys and The Dudleys — so famous. Not because there were crazy ladder spots, but because it was just a nonstop car crash.

It would be pointless for me to try and recap everything that happened. Here are a few snippets:

After much chaos, the end began when The Young Bucks stuffed thumbtacks inside Jungle Boy’s mouth then clocked him with a double superkick as Adam Cole held him in a Camel Clutch. Christian interrupted the pin to save the match.

A creative sequence followed, where Matt Jackson aggrevated Luchasaurus with a superkick, leading to Luchasaurus chasing Matt up the rampway. Matt was cutoff by a recovered Jungle Boy on the ramp, where Jungle Boy put him in a Snare Trap. The six men then exchanged big moves up by the entranceway. It culminated with Cole and the Bucks putting thumbtack-studded straps around their knees to hit a three-way BTE Trigger on Luchasaurus. Jungle Boy broke up the pin, and then his team fought back against the SuperKliq.

After Luchasaurus chokelammed Adam Cole off the ramp onto Nick Jackson and stooge Brandon Cutler, he took them all out for good with an impressive Shooting Star Press. Jungle Boy landed a Conchairto on Matt Jackson for the win.

Rating: 3.75 stars. A lot of chaos and excitement, but with some ridiculousness too. The thumbtack spots were unbelievable and really broke the suspension of disbelief — stuffing thumbtacks in someone’s mouth and kicking them twice led to no bleeding, and Luchasaurus popped up fine mere moments after getting triple BTE Triggered with thumbtack kneepads. Still, it was undoubtedly crazy.

In what was guaranteed to be a strong match, Bryan Danielson beat Miro in… a strong match. Danielson and Miro played their parts perfectly: Miro is a beast of a man, and Danielson is the plucky wrestler that fights from below.

After the opening minutes where Danielson hit Miro with some stiff-looking uppercuts and kicks, there was a great sequence where Danielson stacked Miro for a pin attempt. Miro kicked out and Danielson transitioned into a nice kneebar. After a dramatic few moments in the submission, Miro rolled onto his side and muscled Danielson with a gutwrench throw. This essentially exemplified the dynamic: Danielson is technically proficient, and Miro is the brute that repeatedly knocked him back.

Miro would get a solid submission in of his own when he locked Danielson into the Game Over, his version of the Camel Clutch. Danielson got to the ropes, and when Miro tried to put it on again, Danielson countered into a Labelle Lock. Danielson’s integration of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into his wrestling style is fantastic. Miro managed to break Danielson’s hold, then Danielson transitioned into a Triangle Choke, a throwback to how he beat Eddie Kingston a few weeks ago, but Miro was able to break out again.

After a strike exchange where Miro absorbed all of Danielson’s kicks, the two found themselves atop the turnbuckle. Danielson landed a top-rope DDT and then locked on a guillotine choke. Miro passed out.

Rating: 4.25 stars. Snug strikes, believable wrestling. Great stuff.

The Lucha Brothers won the AEW Tag Team Championships at All Out.

In the second match of the night, The Lucha Brothers defeated FTR in an unsurprisingly exciting bout. Like the opener though, there was some unnecessary funny business towards the end.

Watching The Lucha Brothers wrestle is just so fun. Their offense is so explosive and acrobatic. I can’t do it justice via description, so here are some examples.

The flow of the match was essentially that Fenix and Penta would do crazy fun stuff, but then Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood would cut them off, often with underhanded tactics. It’s a great dynamic, one familiar to FTR matches, that lets both teams shine. Lucha Brothers got to look like superheroes, FTR looked shrewd and expert in tag team tactics.

There was a great nearfall where Fenix was running wild but was cut off by Cash, who hit him with one of the AAA Tag Title belts when the ref wasn’t looking. Fenix kicked out at two, but the crowd bought it as a finish.

Dax got megaheat moments later when he mimicked Eddie Guerrero’s taunt and attempted the Three Amigos. Penta countered at number three and did his own Three Amigos, which got a huge applause from the crowd. Fenix then landed a Frogsplash, which lit the crowd alight with “Eddie!” chants and got another awesome nearfall.

The finish brought the bout down a bit. FTR put on their Lucha masks, which they’ve taken to doing to mock the Lucha Bros, and Cash Wheeler tried to cheat a victory by rolling up Penta and putting his legs on the rope. The ref stopped caught him, then Penta hit him with a superkick and Lucha Brothers planted him with their Magic Killer tandem finish. The whole mask spot slowed the pace down, and felt completely superfluous.

Rating: 4.25 stars. Like the opening match, this featured excellent action and an overbooked finish.

The clash between two of AEW’s biggest stars of tomorrow kicked off the main show. After a terrific bout, MJF hit Allin with brass knucks and then pinned him with a side headlock, as he said he would. It was a so-so- finish to an outstanding match.

It began as a wrestling contest, with Allin and MJF trying to prove who the better professional wrestler is. As noted, the story going into the contest was that MJF said he could beat Allin with a side headlock. Though it grew into a dynamic match with wild moves, the two started out with chain wrestling and fun athletics. MJF would tweak his knee early on, and would sell said knee throughout after Allin exacerbated the injury with a chop block and a brief Figure Four.

The Minnesota crowd was very into this match. MJF is a dastardly villain but, as often happens with charismatic bad guys, a lot of the audience loved him. The match opened to an even split, with dueling chants for Darby and MJF. Towards the end we got a “fight forever!” chant.

As you’d expect with a Darby Allin match, there were several wince-inducing moments. Early on, with MJF splayed across the apron, Allin attempted a Coffin Drop. MJF moved, and Allin crashed his spine into the apron. It was brutal. Later, MJF caught Allin in midair and did a modifed Atomic Drop: Imagine a Powerbomb into MJF’s knees. Maybe the most gnarly one was MJF’s Tombstone Piledriver onto the apron. It was a great spot, as MJF did huge damage to Allin but couldn’t capitalize due to his knee issues.

The match was looking like an instant classic, but then we got to the finish.

Wardlow and Shawn Spears tried to come interfere on MJF’s behalf, but Sting made the save. In the middle of it all,  MJF brought Allin’s skateboard into the ring and dared Allin to hit him with it. The announcer’s played it up as mindgames, that MJF was trying to get Allin disqualified. Allin was tempted, but gently gave the ref the skateboard. While the ref was distracted, MJF pulled brass knucks out of his tights, clocked Allin with them and then pinned him with a side headlock takedown.

Rating: 4 stars. The ending was a bit silly and contrived, which was disappointing because these two did such a great job at making this feel like a serious athletic contest. Still, the action leading up to it was stellar. The future is bright.

Champions League: How to watch or stream online

Barcelona attempt to get one back against a seemingly unstoppable PSG.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are leading the next generation of world beaters as Ronaldo and Messi inch towards retirement.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Your best bet is signing up with Paramount Plus.

All the details on Paramount Plus’ online coverage of Champions League matches can be found here. Paramount Plus doesn’t just have access to this match in particular, but all Champions League matches. You’ll also be able to watch all matches in the Europa League, the second-tier European competition.

Univision has the rights to the US Spanish broadcast of the Champions League, however. You can find out more here.

If you want to watch Champions League football in the UK, our recommendation is sign up with BT Sport.

BT Sport is streaming all the Champions League matches, but it also gives you access to a bunch of other good stuff, like UFC, so it’s worth getting.

Much like the English Premier League, Optus Sport is showing all the Champions League matches in Australia.

If you care about watching soccer at all, the Optus Sport deal is a good one. Especially if you follow the EPL which, being the most high profile league on the planet, most soccer fans do.

Disclaimer: I subscribe to the service and love it. Easy access to all matches on my smart TV and works nicely with a mobile app.

Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, finals schedule, how to watch

Next up for climbing: Men’s finals.

Adam Ondra is probably the best climber in the world right now.

Traditional climbing takes place outside without a predetermined route.

All the qualifiers have taken place. All that’s left is the finals. First up is the men’s finals, which starts at 4.30 a.m. August 5 EDT (1.30 a.m. PDT).

Full schedule:

The women’s finals follow a similar schedule on August 6.

In the US, NBC will broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights in England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two in Australia. All events will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

The finalists for the men are…

Bassa Mawem is expected to withdraw as a result of bicep injury inflicted during qualification.

Finalists for the women are…

Sport climbing will be broken up into three separate disciplines: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Not every country will be represented; only 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) will be allowed to compete at the Games, and only 2 athletes per gender per country will compete in any given event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee currently recognizes only two genders — female and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that identify as transgender, both female and male, to compete. But there aren’t any guidelines or rulings for athletes who don’t identify as female or male — including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined nature of climbing at the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a completely different skillset compared to bouldering and lead climbing. In the next Olympics speed climbing is being broken out as a separate event, leaving bouldering and lead climbing as a combined event.

Two climbers, one wall.

Speed climbing is relatively simple: there are two climbers with safety ropes and one 15-meter wall set at a 95-degree angle. The climbers race against each other to get to the top, with the fastest one winning. The speed route is the exact same at all times: the same holds in the same position at the exact same angle. The addition of speed climbing has been somewhat controversial in the climbing community, because it requires a completely different skillset compared to other climbing disciplines.

Athletes use physical and mental precision to climb to the top of a bouldering route.

Bouldering takes place on an shorter wall, where climbers take turns attempting to scale as many routes on a four-meter-tall wall in 4 minutes. Each route (also called a bouldering problem) is laid out with hand and foot holds in a specific color, and they vary in difficulty based on the size of the holds and the way they are spaced out. A climber completes a problem by grabbing the top hold with both hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been about power and finger strength, but recently competition route setters have been creating problems that require delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This one will be fun to watch.

In Lead climbing, participants secure themselves with a rope as they climb higher.

Lead climbing is arguably the most recognizable of the three events. The climber has six minutes to climb as high on a wall that is taller than 15 meters. They use safety ropes that attach to quickdraws on their way up, allowing the rope to run freely while they stay anchored to the wall. If two athletes reach the same point on the wall, the person who got there first is the winner.

In both bouldering and lead climbing, climbers are not allowed to practice climbing on the routes before they compete or watch each other scale the wall, and they only have a couple of minutes to study the routes and decide their strategy before the timer begins.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won’t change the year on the medals, by the way.

If you thought the qualifying system was a bit complicated, take a deep breath. There’s only one set of medals awarded per gender, so all three events will go into determining which country gets the gold, silver and bronze.

The speed climbing discipline will be done in a bracket format, with athletes competing head to head, while bouldering is in a leaderboard format. Lead climbing will have a point system in which each hold on the wall counts as one point and the athlete who climbs the highest will obtain the highest score.

Once all the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers will be multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores will win medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber will compete in each event. For example, if an athlete gets second place in speed climbing, third in bouldering and first in lead climbing their overall score would be six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6).

In the men’s event the favourite is almost certainly Tomoa Narasaki. Some of the other climbers like Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are considered stronger climbers in terms of their performance on real rock, but this is competition climbing and it’s very different beast. Narasaki was born in the darkness of comp climbing. He’s the Bane of bouldering and, of all the strong climbers, he’s evolved to the weirdness of speed climbing the best. This gives him a great shot at claiming gold.

In the women’s event you’d have to pick Janja Garnbret. She’s been literally unbeatable in the competition scene, particularly in bouldering. There are plenty of others worth watching. From Japan both Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka have a great shot. Noguchi is probably the most decorated female comp climber of all time and Nonaka is a great all-rounder who competes well in speed — the boogie event most top climbers are nervous about.  

Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

World Cup phishing scams spotted a year ahead of the event

The global soccer tournament is still more than a year away, but cybercriminals are already using it to try to grab your personal data.

The FIFA World Cup is set to kick off late next year in Qatar.

Other emails claimed that the recipient had been chosen to take part in a giveaway. In the cases of both these and the contract scams, the recipients were asked to pay a commission to participate but received nothing in return.

Some of the other phishing emails carried malicious attachments. The researchers also found malicious files that had been downloaded from the internet. In all, Kaspersky said it spotted 625 attempts to infect users with files named after the World Cup in 2021.

The vast majority of those involved Word documents asking users to share their personal information. Other threats included AdWare and trojans designed to collect login credentials and other data.

To avoid falling for phishing scams, Kaspersky says people should be wary of unsolicited email offers, especially those that push recipients to act quickly. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Long email addresses that contain garble can be a red flag, as can grammar and spelling errors.

In addition, legitimate companies will never contact you out of the blue and ask for personal information like credit card details or your Social Security number.

The FIFA World Cup is set to kick off in November 2022 in Qatar.

UFC 269: Amanda Nunes loses in shock upset, Oliveira defeats Poirier

Amanda Nunes lost in the most shocking of ways.

Our main event is on, with both fighters making championship weight.

UFC 269 is finished and, top to bottom, was one of the most intense night of fights in UFC history.

Headlines will almost certainly focus on Amanda Nunes’s shock defeat to Julianna Pena. It could be the biggest upset in UFC history. Pena tired Nunes out on the feet and choked her out on the ground. It was an unbelievable performance from Pena.

Dustin Poirier, fresh off two wins over Conor McGregor, lost via submission in a back and forth war with UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.

You can read our live round-by-round coverage below.

Just overheard Poirier saying he’s donating $20,000 to a charity of Oliveira’s choice. Dude is a legend.

Dustin Poirier has a chance to finally become the undisputed lightweight champion.

I don’t think I can even settle down for this one, but I’ll try my best. Deep breaths…

This fight is the very definition of a coin toss.

Poirier’s mentality and will to win is unmatched in the lightweight division and he comes with great boxing and a solid gas tank. Will that be enough to defeat Oliveira and his unique skillset? I’m not sure. Oliveira has the best jiu jitsu, maybe in the entire UFC, and has made marked improvements in his striking.

This is gonna be a fantastic contest.

My prediction: Oliveira via submission

Still haven’t recovered from Nunes loss, but let’s go. This fight is gonna be great.

Man these guys are firing early. Poirier hits Oliveira clean but both are slinging here. Poirier seems to be landing cleaner though with big shots. Oliveira landing some big knees to the body though. 

Now Oliveira is shooting for the takedown. Poirier is surviving and appears to have the advantage on the feet.

This is a CRAZY first round with an insane pace. Poirier hits him clean and knocks Oliveira to the ground, but doesn’t follow him down for long.

Man, Poirier is landing BIG but Oliveira is also landing, but nothing like Poirier. 

WHAT.

A. 

ROUND.

My Score: 10-9 for Poirier

This is gonna be a war of attrition. Poirier is good at those.

Oliveira is going straight to the grappling here, which is very smart. 

Now Oliveira is on his back in a weird position. Now he sweeps and Poirier is on the bottom. This could be bad for Dustin.

Oliveira seems to just want to consolidate this position. Not really working for any submissions just yet. He lands a big elbow though. He’s grinding right now, just trying to do damage with short shots.

Now Oliveira is landing huge elbows. Dustin could be in trouble here. He’ll likely survive, but this could be a turning point in the fight.

My Score: 10-9 for Oliveira

Keen to see how Dustin fares here. Oliveira really beat him up in the last round.

Man Oliveira goes straight to the back in 20 seconds flat. Damn. This is really bad. Oliveira thrives in this position.

AND POIRIER TAPS TO A REAR NAKED CHOKE.

Damn that was so fast, and so technical. Oliveira is so good man. He is so good. And guess what? He had to go through some real adversity, which was the knock on Oliveira. Incredible performance there. Feel for Poirier, but nice work by Oliveira

Oliveira wins via submission

Amanda Nunes: The greatest female fighter of all time.

Having conquered both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, Amanda Nunes has beaten almost every single high level female fighter ever. Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko — Nunes has beat them all, often in spectacular fashion.

Julianna Pena doesn’t have a chance here

Pena’s best opportunity here is in the grappling, perhaps in the clinch up against the cage, but I just can’t see a single way she doesn’t get obliterated here. Nunes isn’t just in a different league, she’s in a different plane of existence.

My prediction: Amanda Nunes via TKO/KO.

Shocking that Nunes is still only 32? Just saw that on the tale of the tape. She could be running this sport for another 5 years at this point. Terrifying.

Also, interesting:

Anyway, the fight!

A leg kick takes Pena down but Nunes allows her back up. Nunes tags her again with a jab and Pena is down. Pena takes a shot on the ground, gets back up, but Nunes is just too strong of a grappler and gets her back down again, she’s just full on big-sistering Pena right now.

Now Nunes has the back.

Pena survives though, gets into half guard and appears to be trying to get back to the feet, but yeah, Nunes is really controlling this fight. Julianna sort of has a kimura grip, but nothing was every gonna come of it.

My score: 10-9 for Nunes

Man Pena has landed some shots and the crowd is going nuts. This is getting sloppy and man… Nunes is losing this round!

Nunes is playing a dangerous game here and whoaa…. they’re just full on exchanging here! Cannot believe this is happening here.

Pena is getting the better of this and now Pena is on her back, what the hell!!!

Nunes has tapped to a choke. I cannot believe it. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. I am in shock here. Complete shock.

Julianna Pena wins via submission

I am in shock. This is honestly the biggest upset in UFC history in my opinion. Cannot believe it. Cannot believe what I just saw. Nunes was just too confident in her ability to steam roll and sloppily just KO Pena.

“I’m not surprised motherfuckers,” says Julianna Pena, in a throwback to Nate Diaz’s famous proclamation after beating Conor McGregor in their first fight.

Wow. Just wow.

Neal vs. Ponzinibbio is a fight between two high level welterweights. 

Bit of a strange turn of events with this fight: Geoff Neal was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and the unlawful carrying of a weapon on Thanksgiving Day. That’s put a bit of a weird cloud on this contest.

Will it impact how this fight plays out on the night? Hard to say. Either way it’s a close pick ’em of a fight. Geoff Neal is a hard hitter who rarely makes mistakes, but until very recently Ponzinibbio was a fighter very close to a title shot.

But Ponzinibbio has struggled a little as of late, so I’m favouring Neal in this one. 

My prediction: Geoff Neal via decision.

Can’t wait to try and spell Ponzinibbio a million times during this fight.

(Nah, jokes. Of course I have that copied ready to paste!)

This is great match making. High stakes fight here, will really decide which of these fighters has a future in the welterweight division.

Here we go…

Slow start to this one. A lot of lateral movement from Ponzinibbio as is his style, but low output in terms of strikes thrown. Neal lands a head kick, but didn’t seem to impact Ponzinibbio too much. Neal is turning it on a bit here though, has clearly landed the most strikes so far and appears to be winning this round.

Ponzinibbio coming on a little stronger towards the end there, but I’m still scoring this for Neal.

My score: 10-9 for Neal

Crazy this is the first time I’ve written the words “Round 2” in this liveblog.

Ponzinibbio seems to have a lot less caution in this round so far, seems to really be driving the action. 

Neal showed off some great takedown defence, was taken down but managed to scramble back up. Ponzinibbio appears to be winning this round though. Very close, ugly fight so far but Ponzinibbio is getting the better of these exchanges in round 2.

My score: 10-9 for Ponzinibbio

Man, Neal’s corner was very vocal there and they’re right. Neal needs to win this round.

Neal is responding, landing clean shots here. He’s winning the early exchanges in this round so far. Neal is landing great check hooks, coming over the top. This is a close, clumsy clash of styles and it’s tough to say how the judges will score this.

These guys are opening up in the latter half of this round, Neal cracks Ponzinibbio hard, repeatedly, taking over in the final minute. 

My score: 10-9 for Neal (29-28 for Neal)

Geoff Neal wins via split decision

Cody Garbrandt is making his 125 debut.

I am very hyped for this one. Garbrandt almost certainly had the fastest hands in the bantamweight division, where he once reigned as champ. He also has bricks for hands with some of the best highlight reel knockouts in UFC history.

But he’s making his flyweight debut here, against Kai Kara-France, another heavy hitter with a penchant for getting into firefights. Considering Garbrand’s storied history of getting into wars at bantamweight, you can expect a potential fight of the night contender here. At the very least, hard not to imagine someone going to sleep here. Don’t blink.

My prediction: Kai Kara-France by KO/TKO

Garbrandt looks big here. Massive compared to Kara-France. Very leg kick heavy attack early from Garbrandt as well and both seem respectful of one another’s power.

Ooft. Garbrandt gets melted by a huge shot from Kara-France but somehow survives, even inviting Kara-France in for more. He survives, but in another exchange Kara-France hits him clean again and damn… Garbrandt is clean out with a final huge shot.

Damn, this must be a tough one for Garbrandt to take. 

Kai Kara-France wins by KO/TKO.

Sean O’Malley, one of the most unique fighters currently in the UFC.

Sean O’Malley looks like he was designed and built using the Saints Row 2 create-a-character mode, which I absolutely say as a compliment.

He’s also one of the most exciting up-and-coming fighters in the UFC’s stacked bantamweight division. Every time he fights it’s an event.

This contest, with Raulian Paiva, feels a bit like a lay-up for O’Malley, but I’m excited to watch it regardless.

My prediction: O’Malley by KO

O’Malley stabbing with those front kicks as per usual. Paiva seems to want to pressure. Ah looks like O’Malley caught the cup with one of those shots? Or maybe not? Hard to say.

O’Malley is landing the jab here, but this is quiet in the early goings. Paiva has landed a few legs kicks though, which O’Malley has struggled with historically.

And whoaaaaaaaa… O’Malley just crushed Paiva. He landed clean with a right over the top and had Paiva rocked. From that point he swarmed. Just a crazy output of huge shots to the body and then clean to the head. Damn…

Just crazy shot selection. O’Malley is so smooth man. Can’t be long until he faces someone high up the rankings now.

O’Malley wins by TKO

Hello everyone, UFC 269 is kicking off! We’ve already seen a number of great fights on the prelims, most notably a wild KO by Tai Tuivasa, and a great comeback win from Dominick Cruz over Pedro Munhoz. 

But the best is still to come. Let’s get cracking.

UFC 268 Usman vs. Covington: Results and reactions

All the results and round by round reactions.

Usman defeats Covington for the second time.

UFC 268 was an incredible card top to bottom, headlined by two title fights that lived up to the hype and more. In the main event, Kamaru Usman edged Colby Covington in another gruelling war. The co-main between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili was another banger, with Namajunas defeating Weili via razor thin split decision.

Elsewhere on the card, Marlon Vera defeated the legendary Frankie Edgar via a crushing front kick. Justin Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler in an unforgettable fight of the year candidate.

You can find our live, blow-by-blow reactions to UFC 268 below.

Usman is fast becoming one of the best fighters on the planet.

Usman has looked unstoppable in the UFC, but the closest he ever looked to being vulnerable was against Colby Covington. This is a rematch and, in their first fight, the scorecards were incredibly close until Usman knocked Covington out in the fifth and final round.

Usman has looked much improved since that fight. Covington has been a little less active and it’s for that reason that I’m picking Usman in this rematch. Can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Quick note — regardless of your thoughts on Covington, you can’t deny coming out to Kurt Angle’s music is an all-time perfect heel move. I love it so much.

Alright… here we go!

Covington isn’t throwing much early, which is strange, because his best shot with this fight is volume. Maybe wrestling is the plan for him this time round and YEP! He goes for the shot, which is defended.

Covington looks a little shook by that exchange to be honest. Usman is pressuring and cutting the cage well here.

And whoa… Usman gets a quick takedown, but Covington gets up quickly.

I score this round 10-9 for Usman.

I think the power difference could be a huge factor here. Usman doesn’t really have to respect Covington’s shots, but the reverse isn’t true.

The pace of this fight is much slower which, again, suits Usman. This isn’t looking great for Covington and you can see the confidence draining. The body shots are big for Usman as well.

Already we’re seeing Covington running out of options here.

Whoa! Usman catches Covington clean and drops him! Then clips him straight away dropping him twice. Somehow Covington survives the round. That’s very close to a 10-8 round. One more minute in that round and Covington would have been toast.

I score this round 10-9 for Usman.

Covington seems to have recovered and actually lands a big shot on Usman. Still, he’s being stalked and pressured by Usman, who is landing his jab at will.

Colby shoots, but Usman is extremely wise to it. I don’t think a welterweight alive could take Usman down at this point.

This is easily Covington’s best round though. At the end of the round he lands some big shots and potentially steals the round. I’m still scoring it for Usman.

I score this round 10-9 for Usman.

Colby is switching up to the strategy he used in the first fight. Throwing more volume, throwing with mean intentions. He’s finding more success!

He is landing hard and clean here, but Usman seems unphased.

This fourth round looks a LOT like the first fight, which is good for Covington. He’s coming on strong here. This is getting really interesting.

I score this round 10-9 for Covington.

Oh man, Covington is landing here, but he shoots and has it stuffed, which may have actually saved Usman.

Usman now back in control it seems but this is a tight round. I think Covington really wants to secure this fight with a takedown, but it’s not there. He still hasn’t really hurt Usman yet.

Ah damn, there’s an eye poke right at the end there. That really takes the sting out of the last 30 seconds of the fight. Which is super weird.

Very tight round but…

I score this round 10-9 for Usman. (49-46 for Usman overall).

The judges have 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for Usman.

Yes, that is Halle Berry in there. Randomly!

I think this is, personally, my most anticipated fight on the card. Mainly because I don’t feel like we really got to see this match-up play out in the first fight. It’s a real toss-up for me. Namajunas is the slickest striker in her division, but Weili has incredible power and physicality. Traditionally, that’s been tricky for Namajunas to navigate — and when you consider Weili seems to have been training her wrestling for this contest, we could have a real fight on our hands here.

I’m picking Weili. Just have a wee feeling she’ll take it. I’m so hyped for this one.

Loved Namajunas walking to the cage with the “I’m the best” mantra. Big Diego Sachez vibes there.

The crown booing Weili heavy. We know she doesn’t like that.

Let’s goooooooo!

Weili opens with three leg kicks. Bouncing on her toes. Weili seems tentative, but gets a takedown. Had a feeling this might happen since she’s been training with Henry Cejudo. Weili now on top and in control. She’s landing big shots from on top here.

Rose scrambles back to her feet. Weili lands a good headkick but Weili seems tentative in there.

I score it 10-9 for Weili.

Namajunas’ corner want her to wait for Weili to come to here, which is great advice to be honest. I get the feeling the Weili could potentially take Namajunas down at will with the strength advantage. Have to see how this plays out.

This is a tentative round for both fighters. Weili is throwing that leg kick a lot, Namajunas can’t take too many of those. Ooft, Weili cracks Namajunas clean and now she’s on her back after a takedown. Namajunas lands an upkick, but Weili is on top now and she’s — again — winning this round.

Now Rose gets the takedown! Fascinating contest.

I score it 10-9 for Weili.

Not much happening here, but Rose just looks much calmer in there. Tough to score this round, but the leg kicks are money for Weili. I think Rose should throw some her own. I think Weili slipped, but the crowd sold it. They’re in the clinch now.

They break and Namajunas is much more aggressive now but Weili cracks her with a left hook. Now she lands a takedown that’ll probably steal the round. She finishes in full mount.

I score it 10-9 for Weili.

Both fighters are opening up now, landing shots. Great start to the round for both fighters.

Now Weili has her back, trying to get hooks in for a rear naked choke. Namajunas reverses! Now she’s in Weili’s guard. Crazy scrambles here. This is the fight I was hoping to see. Amazing stuff.

Rose finishes the round on top. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out with more energy in the fifth and final round.

I score it 10-9 for Namajunas.

I have it 3-1 Weili, but there’s a real chance it’s 2-2. This is a high stakes round.

This is down to who wants it more. Cliche, but true in this case.

MASSSIIVE TAKEDOWN from Rose. With both fighters tired, Rose might be able to keep the fight here for the whole round. Weili absolutely needs to get up, she can’t accept this position.

But Weili looks like she doesn’t have the energy to get back up. The fight ends with Rose on top.

I score it 10-9 for Namajunas. (48-47 for Weili).

I reckon the judges will score this differently. Keen to see the cards…

The judges scored it 49-46, 48-47, 47-48.

Edgar vs. Vera is gonna be a great one.

This one is just great matchmaking. Former UFC lightweight champ Edgar is a legend of MMA and Vera is a star on the rise. This one is a real clash of styles: Vera is a technical slugger with an iron chin, Edgar is the type to mix slick takedowns in with his striking.

The safe money is on Edgar grinding this one out over three rounds, but we have seen Edgar suffer devastating knockouts in recent fights. This one’s a bit of a toss-up. I’m picking Edgar.

A stat popped up showing that Edgar has the most fight time of anyone in UFC history — almost 8 hours. Wild.

Being 40 years old in the lighter weight division is just such an achievement. What a legend Edgar is.

Good sign for Vera, who stuffs the first shot from Frankie. Wild that Edgar used to the champ two weight classes above, but looks so much smaller than Vera.

Edgar gets him down with a blast double, into a choke from Vera, but Edgar gets out quick. This is how he wins this fight, with top control and pressure. This could be bad for Vera. He’s bang in the middle of the cage and could be here for the rest of the round.

Vera is defending well from the bottom here, and lands a few nice upkicks, but he’s losing this round.

I score this 10-9 for Edgar.

The fight starts standing obviously, which favors Vera, but Edgar gets him down early. We’ve already seen he doesn’t have much for Edgar on the ground. He could — again — very well grind this round out from this position.

This is vintage Edgar here. You love to see it.

But wait — Vera scrambles to his feet. Great work by Vera. He’s marching forward now desperate to land shots and win this round. He lands a huge knee of Edgar. He lands another that has Edgar stumbling. Remember it was a knee from Cory Sandhagen that took Edgar clean out in his last fight. 

Vera is gathering confidence here. He’s winning this round.

Edgar looks in bad shape as he goes back to his corner.

I score this 10-9 for Vera

You get the sense that a takedown is very important for Edgar here. Vera has the advantage on the feet here, and Edgar’s chin isn’t what it used to be.

Edgar’s shots just aren’t hitting hard enough to earn respect here. He needs a shot ASAP. He almost gets him down at some point and then bam, Vera is straight back up.

Then BAM. A massive Anderson Silva-esque front kick straight up the middle takes Edgar out clean. This fight is over. Edgar is protesting the stoppage, but no way — he was out 100%. Incredible shot by Vera.

Vera wins by TKO.

This has to be a tough one for Edgar to take. At 40 years old, you have to imagine there’s not too many fights left for this guy. The chin isn’t what it used to be and it’s tough to keep facing down these young killers.

Alright, time to take a breather.

Lol whatever, Shane Burgos is fighting.

This is the lowest profile fight on this stacked card, but both Shane Burgos and Billy Quarantillo are known for all action fights. Hard to expect this playing out any other way. This one is a real coin toss, but I’m taking Burgos. He hits harder and maintains a powerful pace.

Quarantillo comes out pressuring, trying to make this ugly with dirty boxing and tight uppercuts.

Burgos wrestles him to the cage, attempting to wear Quarantillo out.

On the feet this feels even, but Burgos is landing harder shots. They’re slugging it out in the pocket now and Quarantillo shoots for the takedown. Great round of action here. Everything pales in comparison to Gaethje vs. Chandler, but this is good stuff.

I score it 10-9 for Quarantillo

Both fighters come out trading big shots. Quarantillo will not stop marching forward. It’s clearly the gameplan to keep Burgos on the backfoot.

Quarantillo could very well win the fight on volume alone.

This round is so hard to score, they’re just landing on one another and not stopping. The leg kicks are starting to add up.

But Quarantillo gets hurt by a clean right hand shot by Burgos and now he’s getting swarmed. He makes it to the end, but that’s definitely a Burgos round.

I score it 10-9 for Burgos

As the commentary mentioned, Quarantillo’s leg is in bad shape. That’s making it easier for Burgos to land shots.

Damn the leg is worse than I thought. This could be bad for Quarantillo. He goes to the clinch to try and negate it, but  a couple of clean leg kicks and this fight could be over.

Quarantillo is surviving, trying to get close Burgos is fatiguing. This has been another tremendous fight.

I score it 10-9 for Burgos (29-28 Burgos overall)

Let’s see how the judges have it…

Yep, all three judges agree with me. Incredible fight with a ridiculous output from both men.

This one’s gonna be a banger, folks.

Apparently this fight was bumped to the card opener because Gaethje’s coach Trevor Wittman needed time between this fight and the fight of his other student Rose Namajunas.

Either way, what a way to open this card. I am beyond hyped for this fight. Two massive hitters who like to go forward. I favour Gaethje because he’s arguably the most effective leg kicker in MMA and Chandler has struggled historically with leg kicks. That said — Chandler can put your lights out anytime with that huge overhand he likes to wing.

Can’t wait for this one. The only guarantee is one of these guys is doing a backflip off the cage when they win. Chandler and Gaethje always do that!

Man, what a fight to open with. I am so ridiculously hyped for this. This is absolute car crash territory. The New York crowd is incredibly hot also. Let’s goooo.

Man, Chandler is marching forward with bombs here. Gaethje opened with that calf kick. These guys are winging with no defence to speak of and Chandler seems to be getting the best of it. Leg kicks are already appearing to compromise both fighters.

PHEW. Okay pace has slowed down. Breathe.

But Chandler lands HUGE and Gaethje staggers back. Somehow Gaethje recovers and starts throwing back. Now Chandler is struggling. These guys throwing nothing but huge loopy shots trying to kill one another. Wow this fight is exactly as advertised.

These guys are already exhausted but Gaethje looks like he could be fresher going into the 2nd round.

Wow. Just wow.

I score this 10-9 for Chandler

Slower pace here. Obviously. Chandler is fighting smart here with the jab and throwing out kicks. But Gaethje is marching forward now and has lost a bit of pop.

OOOFT. Gaethje lands a HUGE righty hand and Chandler is on his butt. He somehow survives, but Gaethje is on top landing shots from a headlock position. Chandler has survived this onslaught though. Incredible. They’re back on their feet. Wow.

How?

Chandler shoots for a takedown — can you blame him? He lands a big shot but Gaethje just smiles. Gaethje is taking over now.

Weird ending to the round where Chandler lands a huge shot but rakes Gaethje in the eyes.

I score this 10-9 for Gaethje

Those Gaethje leg kicks man. Chandler can’t take much more of them. But Chandler has caught a second wind here, he’s on his toes and landing shots to the body.

Chandler lands a HUGE takedown, but somehow in the scramble Gaethje got in the better position, landing shots. I cannot tell who is winning here, but in these exchanges Chandler is starting to wilt a little, but who’s landed the most shots? How are they scoring this? WHO KNOWS?

What an incredible fight.

I score this 10-9 for Gaethje (29-28 Gaethje overall)

Let’s see what the judges have to say…

Justin Gaethje takes it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Why Naomi Osaka dropped out of Wimbledon: What you need to know

Naomi Osaka intends to return at the Olympics in July.

Osaka has now withdrawn from Wimbledon in addition to the French Open.

Osaka’s current plan is to make a return to professional Tennis is her home country of Japan at the Olympics in July.

“Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision,” Wimbledon reps told CNET in an emailed statement. “We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year.”

Osaka’s withdrawal is the latest in a series that began with controversy at Roland Garros.

After canceling press obligations during the French Open as a result of mental health issues, Osaka — one of the top-ranked women tennis players in the world — was fined $15,000 and threatened with expulsion by tournament organizers. Ultimately, Osaka decided to take matters into her own hands and left the tournament of her own volition.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a statement describing her struggles with depression. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”

After initially criticizing Osaka’s unwillingness to meet the press in person and answer questions after matches (see below), Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, delivered a statement on Osaka’s decision to exit the match — a statement he delivered in French and English before walking out of the media room without taking questions from the press.

“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year,” Moretton said. “We remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the media.”

A stream of support has since come out for Osaka from fans and professional athletes alike. Here’s everything you need to know.

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player and the current world number 2, behind Australian Ash Barty, having won four Grand Slam championships. Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka grew up in the US and won her first Grand Slam — the US Open — aged 20.

Since then she has become a global superstar in the world of tennis, holding the position of number one in 2019 and winning three more Grand Slam tournaments.

Osaka is famously shy and soft spoken, but has regularly pushed past this to use her platform for activism. In 2020 she withdrew from the Cincinnati Open to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. During the 2020 US Open she famously wore a series of masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice to raise awareness during Black Lives Matters protests.

Last week Naomi Osaka posted on her social media accounts, stating she wouldn’t be taking part in press conferences during the French Open, to protect her mental health.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health,” she wrote, “and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”

In response Roland Garros posted a statement on its website and issued a $15,000 fine.

“Following this announcement,” read the statement, “the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.

“Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.”

In the statement, Roland Garros claimed mental health was of the “utmost importance”, but also posted a now-deleted tweet, that made light of Osaka’s mental health concerns.

In response to the fine and the threat of expulsion, Osaka withdrew from the tournament.

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” she wrote. “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.

“The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

Osaka wrote that she was already feeling “vulnerable and anxious” about the French Open and the prospect of having to face the press, that she was exercising “self care” by skipping the conferences. Osaka also claimed she privately wrote to the organizers of the Grand Slam tournaments to apologize.

“I’m going to take some time away from the court now,” she said, “but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”

Observers were quick to note that Moretton’s follow up statement expressing his sadness and support for Osaka seemed disingenuous. “The immense irony of the FFT President not taking questions from the media in the wake of this Osaka withdrawal is not lost on anyone,” wrote journalist Ben Rothenberg, describing Moretton.

In the wake of Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open multiple athletes across different sports came out in support.

Serena Williams, who Osaka famously defeated to win her very first Grand Slam recently commented on the situation.

“I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like,” she said. “I’ve been in those positions

“We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can.”

Venus Williams, had a different response. Speaking out on how she dealt with press conferences — during a press conference.

“[M]e personally, how I cope, how I deal with it, was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” Williams said. “So no matter what you say, or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.”

Tennis legends like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova — alongside athletes like Steph Curry — tweeted messages backing up Osaka.

“Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs,” said Billie Jean King.

“You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this,” said NBA star Steph Curry, “but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own.”

Osaka received support from all corners. Not just for standing up for herself, but for raising awareness of mental health issues.

Calm, an app dedicated to helping with sleep and meditation, is donated $15,000 — the equivalent of Osaka’s initial fine — to Laureus Sport in France, a company that does work in the mental health space.

It’s also offered to the same if any other tennis athletes are fined for taking the same stand in the future.